Critics’ Picks

Ingrid Furre, untitled, 2013, wood and oil-based paint, 63 1/2 x 6 x 13".

Ingrid Furre, untitled, 2013, wood and oil-based paint, 63 1/2 x 6 x 13".


Ingrid Furre

Dan Gunn
Schlesische Strasse 29 Street front, 3rd Floor
November 23, 2013–February 15, 2014

At first blush, “Restaurant,” the title of Swedish artist Ingrid Furre’s current solo exhibition, is misleading. Rather than summoning the conviviality of collective dining, Furre’s makeshift cabinets and plates (all works Untitled, 2013) reinvent the “restorative” effect of consumption (taking cues from the French verb restaurer [to restore]) as an archaeology of modern things. Skillfully crafted from repurposed wood, which Furre has treated alternately with varnish or gloss paint, these objects—inhabiting a converted residential space in Berlin’s Kreuzberg district—draw us in by keeping their secrets. Bereft of ornament, doors, drawers—all their usual openings—three stained-wood cabinets stand in two of the rooms as if their backs were turned toward the viewer. Four additional sculptural works, which move away from the decorative arts idiom by building upon it, also make use of all sorts of curious imperfections: inaccessible enclosures, uneven surfaces, and hidden recesses. Hung a bit too high on the wall to trigger one’s tactile reflexes, four white plates, made of metal and plaster, have mottled surfaces reminiscent of earthenware pottery.

Furre’s meticulous selection and reworking of natural and industrial materials—wood, plaster, metal, fabric, and foam—strikingly distill material and conceptual approaches seen in her first presentation at the gallery last summer, which included seventy-two pieces of soap that she cast by hand and arranged in piles, as well as three revamped miniaturized pieces of furniture. Here, too, Furre compellingly engages with the legacy of Minimalism, demonstrated by her austere arrangements in the gallery’s rooms. A “white-on-white” constellation in the second room, for example, induces her sculptures to shift and rhyme with their immediate surroundings (the heater, moldings, and structural protrusions), while the unexpected pairing of two works—one painted blue, one black, both tucked away in a corner between two perpendicular doorways—ricochets this disorientation back toward the viewer with a sudden blast of color. It is through such critical transpositions, displacing the concerns of monochrome painting onto spatial configuration, that Furre excavates meaning out of assumed imperfections.